‘Seven essential items you must have for your closet!’ How often I get emails from numerous stores with that in the subject line! These emails suggest items the store feels are necessary for me to complete ‘the look’. There is usually something denim, a pair of black pants, a few short sleeved shirts and a white sweater for layering over it. Somewhere in the mix there is a pop of color to make the look more fun. You can’t wear them all at the same time, but they all coordinate so you can mix and match.
Funny how I get that email a lot, from different stores, for different seasons…
The same store may tell me that today I need these seven items for spring, but then in the summer…well….now I need these seven items. Come fall, there is another lot of seven items that I need. And then winter comes along, and so does another email with seven new, additional items that are also essential!
The essential items we are supposed to put on keep changing! Season after season. Year after year. We can’t possibly buy or wear them all!
And come next year, we will have to start all over again!
What if we got an email that said ‘Seven essential items you need to put on…that never go out of season…and you are to wear them all…every day’?
I have been reading Colossians 3 this week. In verses 12-14, Paul talks about just that. He gives us a list of seven items we are to put on that are truly essential.
He writes: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Paul doesn’t say for this season in your life, put on compassion and kindness. And then in the next season of your life, compassion and kindness are out of date, so put them back in the closet and put on humility, gentleness and patience. There is not another verse later that says those three are out, so put on forgiveness and yet another season where you are to only put on love.
We are to wear them all. Every day. They all work together. All of the time.
Humility puts the interests of others above our own. When we clothe ourselves with humility, we genuinely want what is best for the other person. As a result, we demonstrate compassion, kindness and gentleness. It is a natural expression of humility to extend mercy and genuine goodness to others. When we see others through the eyes of mercy and goodness, we bear with one another, forgiving wrongs done against us, because seriously, we know how much we have been forgiven.
And then over them all we are to put on love. Selfless, serving, sacrificial love.
Wearing these virtues is being clothed in the character of Christ. We learn from the Bible that Jesus walked this earth with compassion (Mark 6:34), kindness and goodness (Titus 3:4), humility (Phil. 2:5-8), gentleness (Matt 11:29), patience (1 Tim. 1:16), forgiveness (Eph. 4:32), and love (1 John 4:8).
What a great God we serve! He has given us these essential virtues to put on. They all work together to display His love to the world.
These verses put it all into the proper perspective! The next time we get an email promoting items that are said to be essential, let’s head back to Colossians 3 and make sure we have clothed ourselves with the character of Christ…seven items that are not only essential, they are also eternal!